Using resources wisely is a delicate balancing act. It means meeting today's needs without compromising those of tomorrow. We want to leave future generations with at least as many options for using marine resources as we ourselves enjoy.
The catches in most of our major fisheries are set close to the maximum sustainable level; but we know it is not enough to just manage catches sustainably. We must also consider the effects fishing has on the wider environment - fish and other creatures caught or killed during fishing, habitat damage, and the flow-on effects of all these things on marine ecosystems.
Managing fishing's "footprint" on other species, and on our habitats and ecosystems, is an important part of what the Ministry of Fisheries
does. The Fisheries Act 1996
includes a duty to:
- Manage the effects of fishing on the marine environment.
- Make sure that non-harvested species and biological diversity are maintained.
- Protect habitats that are important for fisheries.
A discussion on the environmental oblications in the Act is contained in our Legal Framework.
Land-based effects on coastal fisheries and ecosystems
Runoff from the land can have huge effects on our coastal ecosystems and the fisheries they support. Streams and rivers carry sediments, nutrients and bacteria from our roads, farms and forests into the sea; while stormwater running down the drains from our streets and driveways pollutes estuaries and harbours with a cocktail of oil and other chemicals.